Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Good news for chocoholics: Chocolate reduces blood pressure

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Here's some good and bad news for chocoholics: Dark chocolate seems to lower blood pressure, but it requires an amount less than two Hershey's Kisses to do it, a small study suggests. The new research from Germany adds to mounting evidence linking dark chocolate with health benefits, but it's the first to suggest that just a tiny amount may suffice.

Volunteers for the study ate just over 6 grams of dark chocolate daily for almost five months — one square from a German chocolate bar called Ritter Sport, equal to about 1 1/2 Hershey's Kisses. People who ate that amount ended up with lower blood pressure readings than those who ate white chocolate.

University of Cologne researcher Dr. Dirk Taubert, the study's lead author, said the blood pressure reductions with dark chocolate were small but still substantial enough to potentially reduce cardiovascular disease risks, although study volunteers weren't followed long enough to measure that effect.

The study appears in Wednesday's Journal of the American Medical Association. It was funded by University Hospital in Cologne.

The results are interesting but need to be duplicated in larger, more ethnically diverse populations, said Dr. Laura Svetkey, director of Duke University's Hypertension Center.

Tests suggested that steady exposure to dark chocolate prompted chemical changes that helped dilate blood vessels and regulate blood pressure, the researchers said.

Source : Yahoo News




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